I've heard lots of folks say "I'm not paying anyone to just push a button" in reference crafting. This attitude is just wrong.
Before you accuse someone of gouging you on a button push, consider this. Training of a skill costs money in terms of both initial outlay, incremental upgrades (journeyman, apprentice, artisan, etc.), trainer patterns, and patterns purchased at the auction house. Additionally, the vast majority of crafting professions have vast wastelands where a crafter is only making an item for the points. The resulting item is not useful at all. Each of those "point grind" items has a real cost in materials to make it. If each item were purchased, any crafting profession costs easily 1000 gold to level to 375. And honestly, I think the total for most professions is closer to 2k.
"But, they can pick their own mats up" I hear you decry. Yes, if an alchemist is also an herbalist, herbs can be collected as you level. But, the odds are that you're not going to have every herb available when you need to do that points grind and get the skill ranked up. Some of them will be purchased. And even if they aren't purchased outright, there is a cost (in time) associated with veering off the leveling path to "just get this Steelbloom" or "nab a point from this tin vein." These are microscopic time transactions. Keep in mind some MMO models actually fund themselves through microscopic monetary transactions.
I love crafting. It's a part of the game that I enjoy immensely. I get a sense of accomplishment from reaching crafting goals. I also like being able to make the things that my friends and guildmates need. I have never leveled a character who was not a crafter. But I don't like people I don't know assuming that because I can cut a Solid Star of Elune (which takes getting jewelcrafting to at least 350 and getting the pattern at somewhere between 700 and 1200 gold on my server) that I should just cut them for anyone who can ask. And if I do cut one for someone I don't know, I sort of expect to be tipped.
So, when you're finding a crafter for something you need made, here's what you should keep in mind.
- Always offer a tip (even to guildies). I never take money from guildies for "pushing a button" and even give away cooldowns.
- If you're supplying the materials, supply ALL the materials. Yes, this includes the thread, flux, vials and what not. You'd be surprised how much I've spent making things for friends who've "forgotten" to send the vials. If you aren't supplying the vendor bought materials like this, your tip should be sufficient to cover that cost as well.
- If you're expecting the crafter to supply a material because they can also collect it, you should increase your tip.
- If you can't be bothered to travel to the crafter (because you're hearthstone is on cooldown or you're just that lazy) your tip should cover the opportunity cost for the crafter. If they have to burn a cooldown on their hearthstone, you should be paying big time.
- If they are crafting something for you that is quite rare (think under a 2% static droprate) you should increase your tip even further.
- If you're supplying NO materials to the crafter, I think it'd be fair to pay AH prices. And then adjust upward if they're traveling to you.
So remember. It's not just a button push. They spent their real gold and time to level up to 375. IF you think you're entitled to reaping the fruits of their labor freely, perhaps you should have leveled that skill on YOUR character.